2000 New Members in a Week?! #DSA100K

Hi everyone,

Last week, the Democratic Socialists of America launched the DSA100K recruitment drive – an ambitious attempt to recruit 5000 new members in the next 5 weeks. This is the first major recruitment drive our organization has ever run, and it’s going extremely well. In the first week, DSA grew by over 2000 dues-paying members: the fastest period of growth the organization has ever seen. In the past, we’ve seen big membership spikes when big news breaks, like when Alexandria Ocasio Cortez won her primary in New York. This recruitment drive success is even better than that, because this shows us that organizing works: making direct asks of our friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors to join our political project gets results.

Have you signed the 100K pledge yet? You can do so here! Recruit three members to DSA and not only will you build working class power, you’ll get a cool pink hat! Once you’ve signed the pledge, generate your unique join link here. 

The most important tool that the working class has is organization. We’re strong when we fight together. We have to build a durable, mass political organization to wield the kind of power we need to win real change in our society. If you aren’t a dues-paying member of DSA yet, join hereAlso, not to brag, but New Orleans DSA is #3 in the country in recruitment numbers right now. Let’s keep that lead going! 

Lastly, if you speak Spanish and would be interested in helping translate some of our externally facing chapter materials into Spanish, please reach out to hello@dsaneworleans.org! We have also been doing weekly voter registration events, and we’d love to train some more Spanish-speaking volunteers in voter registration.

Solidarity,

DSA New Orleans Local Council

August General Meeting is This Saturday!

Our August General Meeting is this Saturday at 2 PM! This is the most important meeting of each month – the meeting where we put the small ‘d’ in democratic socialism. This is when we bring the whole chapter membership together and make decisions about how to move forward as a chapter. Do you have an idea for a project that the chapter should take on or a campaign that you’d like to see us get involved in? The General Meeting is where those ideas can be discussed and voted on by the whole membership. Email hello@dsaneworleans.org to submit a proposal or to find out more information about how to do so! 

At this month’s General Meeting, we will elect a delegate to the Green New Deal Strategy Summit, discuss how to structure our chapter’s abolition work, and consider other proposals being submitted by members like yourself! Join us – register for the call here!

Are you a teacher or a parent? Or are you concerned about ensuring a safe return to school for the teachers, parents, and students in your life? We are hosting a Safe Schools Panel with teachers from Jefferson Parish on Monday the 17th @ 7 PM. Join the call to get connected with other teachers and parents in our chapter and beyond!

Also, the DSA Municipal Action Committee has begun our work on a voter guide for the coming November elections, but we need more researchers, especially those with knowledge of Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes, and local school or judicial systems. That being said, you do not need any experience or special knowledge to help with this project, it’s a collaborative effort between a group of people. To join the project, please fill out this form and we will get back to you. Our next Zoom meeting will be 8/27, and you can register for that call here (password: MAC). 

Lastly, on Wednesday the 19th at 10:00 AM the Louisiana House and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet to discuss if the threat of coronavirus in November will be enough to warrant an emergency voting plan, and if so what that plan should look like. Mail-in ballots are currently allowed for voters with especially high risks from COVID-19, but not for all residents. State Republicans have blocked past measures to make voting safer. To contact our state government and announce your support for an extended period of early voting and universal mail-in voting, you can email the H & GA Committee at h&ga@legis.la.gov and LA Secretary of State Ardoin online here or by phone at 225.922.2880.

See you on Saturday! Register for the General Meeting here.

Solidarity,

Local Council
New Orleans DSA

P.S. New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. You can always email hello@dsaneworleans.org with questions about how to get involved or about the work our chapter is doing. 

We Oppose the Hiring of Peter Bowen!

Hi everyone,

Last week, City Hall announced plans to hire Peter Bowen as a new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) in charge of the city’s land use. They will also expand the duties of the job, creating a new agency, the Office of Business and External Services (OBES), a project of Gilberto Montaño, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer.

The OBES will include the regulatory agencies already under the leadership of the DCAO and add agencies in charge of economic development and buying, selling and leasing city-owned land.

Bowen is a former general manager for Sonder, a short-term rental company that became the largest operator of STRs in New Orleans in 2018. Bowen fought against regulation for the STR industry and “blitz scaled the New Orleans market for Sonder from launch to 1,000 apartments (2,500 rooms) in under 36 months” (from his application for the DCAO position). 

The last DCAO left the position in the wake of scandals based around big business dodging city regulation. A building inspector was indicted on taking $65,000 in bribes, and two building inspectors were suspended for falsely claiming multiple inspections of the Hard Rock Hotel on Canal St.

City Hall has failed in its duties to regulate the STR industry, and appointing an STR exec to a powerful regulatory job makes it even more clear that our city government is catering to corporations at the expense of New Orleans locals. The needs of our city residents come before the profits of wealthy developers, especially during an economic crisis and looming mass evictions.

We oppose the hiring of Peter Bowen as a DCAO for the city and the creation of the OBES. We demand Gilberto Montaño step down as CAO and for City Hall to make good on its promise to regulate the STR industry fairly. Take action – send a email to City Hall officials today and sign our petition here!

Are you interested in getting involved in this campaign to oppose the hiring of Peter Bowen? Email municipal@dsaneworleans.org to get connected with a leader from our Municipal Action Committee or come out to one of our upcoming events

What’s next? Join our our next Local Council meeting, TONIGHT at 6:30 (register here). This is the monthly meeting of our chapter’s leadership body, and everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. And put the August General Meeting, which will be on August 22nd at 2 PM, in your calendar today! General Meetings are held monthly. These are the largest meetings of the General Membership (that’s you!) each month, and this is where the entire chapter membership makes collective decisions on how to move forward. If you can only make one meeting a month, a General Meeting is the place to start! 

Solidarity,

Local Council
New Orleans DSA

P.S. New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. You can always email hello@dsaneworleans.org with questions about how to get involved or about the work our chapter is doing. 

P.P.S. Here are the full minutes from our chapter’s annual convention last week

This Weekend, We Finished Our 2020 Local Convention!

Hi everyone,

This weekend, our chapter wrapped up our 2020 Local Convention. This year’s Convention was split into two meetings, one for elections, which was completed last month, and one for political resolutions and bylaw amendments, which was this last Saturday. Over the weekend, we tackled a daunting agenda with 19 proposals, each with different solutions for addressing the structure and guiding the political direction of our chapter. This was by far the highest number of proposals we’ve ever considered at Convention. We had great debate and minimal technical difficulties. Well done everyone, and HUGE thanks to our Convention Committee for organizing our first entirely online Convention! 

Full minutes for the Convention meeting will be ready soon, but in the meantime, you can find a list of the proposals we considered and the results of the final votes here. Among other things, we voted to prioritize organizing towards abolition in Orleans and surrounding parishes, formalize our committee and working group structures within the chapter, and implement chapter-wide assessments for developing new projects. We also approved our General Meeting schedule for 2020-2021. Check it out here, and put these dates in your calendar! 

Are you interested in getting involved in making the proposals we passed this weekend a reality? Email hello@dsaneworleans.org to get connected with a New Orleans DSA leader, or come out to one of our upcoming events

What’s next? Join our our next Local Council meeting, on August 3rd at 6:30 (register here). This is the monthly meeting of our chapter’s leadership body, and everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. And put the August General Meeting, which will be on August 22nd at 2 PM, in your calendar today! General Meetings are held monthly. These are the largest meetings of the General Membership (that’s you!) each month, and this is where the entire chapter membership makes collective decisions on how to move forward. If you can only make one meeting a month, a General Meeting is the place to start! 

Solidarity,

Local Council
New Orleans DSA

P.S. New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. You can always email hello@dsaneworleans.org with questions about how to get involved or about the work our chapter is doing. 

Chapter’s New Leaders Look to the Future

DSA New Orleans’ first majority-online elections swept in a wave of new officers last week. New Co-Chairs Frances G. and Benjamin H. and Membership Chair Sean D. said their top priorities include finalizing a code of conduct, expanding and engaging the general membership, and empowering members.

Other election winners were:

  • Secretary: Lori D.
  • Treasurer: James P.
  • At-large Members: Nadia E. & Andrew S.
  • Treasurer Trustee: Alli D.

“Even though this is a really challenging time within our chapter and outside, it’s also a moment of incredible opportunity,” said Frances, who’s served in the past as Health Care Committee Chair and chapter Secretary. “I want to see as much work and decision-making as possible done by the general membership, with the Local Council facilitating.”

Benjamin, the Direct Service Committee Steward, agreed that empowering members should be a top goal of the new Local Council, along with building formal processes for identifying and developing leaders.

“We’ve already created an environment where you can come in green and learn how to be a solid organizer and leader, but we should do some formalizing of that process,” he said.

To that end, Sean suggested building/formalizing positions within a Membership Committee that engage and motivate new members, including membership trustee, mobilizing team head, and social organizer.

“Membership isn’t built top-down. Membership is grown when people make those connections one-on-one. The biggest thing we can do is to provide spaces where people can meet and exchange ideas,” said Sean, who has experience organizing with the Interfaith Prayer Vigil and as an internal mobilizer on the chapter’s City Waste Working Group.

All three of the chapter’s new top leaders identified a lack of diversity among the leadership as a critical obstacle in the coming year. 

 “We have to figure out structural solutions to these systemic structural problems,” Frances said. “We have to do externally-facing work that puts us in the trenches with other working-class organizations alongside black- and brown-led organizations.”

Benjamin said he wants to work quickly on establishing a long-term defund and disarm the police campaign that would engage the entire chapter in anti-racism work.

“Can we claw back the funds that the city is putting into reactive, racist policies and put them toward health justice or a green new deal or housing justice?” he asked.

Educating new members on the chapter’s politics by creating a political program would be a critical goal for Sean in the coming months.

“It’s one thing to provide a space for people to learn, but if we don’t have a framework to work with it, we can lose sight of where we stand as democratic socialists,” he said. “The membership political spectrum can vary as far as Marxist to Anarchist, so we need to clearly define and come to a consensus on our chapter values”

Frances had her eyes on a large-scale political campaign: a City Council seat in 2021. 

“Even a long-shot campaign would still solidify our knowledge base and get us out there more,” she said. “In any campaign, we can drag the whole thing to the left by staking out further leftward positions.”

How Can I Help?

Message Frances, Benjamin, Sean, or any of the chapter’s officers on Slack with questions and suggestions, or email hello@dsaneworleans.org to reach us!

In Solidarity with Minneapolis Protesters

New Orleans DSA stands in solidarity with the uprisings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Columbus, Louisville, Los Angeles, and beyond. We stand in solidarity with people everywhere who are demanding freedom from racist violence at the hands of the police. We stand in solidarity with the Black-led rebellions taking place across the nation. The police are one of the lethal tools of white supremacy, used to protect capital and property rights and to crush the powerful movements of working people.

In Louisiana, we can look back to the Thibodaux Massacre in 1887, where white supremacist militias massacred hundreds of Black people after an estimated 10,000 Black sugarcane workers went on strike. We can look to the 1970 storming of the Black Panther Party’s headquarters in the Desire Housing Projects. Or we can look to the present, where PeopleReady, a temp agency that contracts labor for Metro Service Group, fires striking sanitation workers (all of whom are Black men), and forces people who are imprisoned to replace them for pennies on the dollar. 

This is how the carceral state works; this is what policing is. This is not unique to Minneapolis or to “a few bad apples.” The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis came just days before the police murder of Modesto Reyes here in Jefferson Parish and on the heels of Breonna Taylor’s murder in Louisville.   

We uphold the right of Black communities to protect themselves against a murderous state, and we encourage all people to join the ongoing movement to end state violence and white supremacy. 

As the events this week in Minneapolis have shown, we will only win this fight when we—the multiracial working class—come together to leverage our collective power and force the end of a system that relies on white supremacist violence to maintain the status quo. This system will not end because of a moral shift in the hearts of the ruling class or in individual white people’s conscience. It will only end when we all commit to stepping up now, joining the fight for the long-term, and building our power together.  

This year, New Orleans will elect a district attorney and several criminal court judges—we demand that they hold officers accountable for misconduct and brutality. The city will pass a budget this fall in the midst of a pandemic and record unemployment. We demand the city divert our tax dollars away from NOPD and surveillance contractors to community health and social services. Orleans Parish Prison, which has killed about 50 people since 2006, is at its lowest population since the 1980s. We support the demands of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and call for a mass release of incarcerated people.

We are angry, and we are mourning, and we are ready to fight.

Take action with us: 

Solidarity,
New Orleans DSA

Sanitation Workers Fighting for their Rights

Sanitation worker Greg Woods speaks to local press about their organizing efforts.

New Orleans Sanitation workers are fighting for their rights! These workers keep our city clean and safe, and are putting their lives out on the line everyday to keep New Orleans running. They are doing a WORK STOPPAGE to demand hazard pay and PPE.

Please call METROWIDE SERVICES today to tell them you are a concerned New Orleanian and that Metrowide needs to do right by these workers. 🌹

504-520-8331

“Hello, my name is [X] I am calling to urge Metrowide Services to pay their workers what they deserve and give them PPE. The hoppers are demanding $135 standard day rate plus $150 hazard pay per day until the pandemic is over. They also demand to be given proper protective equipment every day.”

If you live in New Orleans, say you are a New Orleans resident. If you live outside of New Orleans, say what city you are calling in from and that “people all over the country are watching Metrowide.”

Let’s show our FRONTLINE workers we have their back!
🌹

Click here to read a news story about this.

Tell City Council to Support Emergency Healthcare for All!

We are calling on the New Orleans City Council to support the Medicare for All Act of 2019 or Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act to meet the immediate need for full health care coverage with no out-of-pocket expenses. Public health is a social good, like clean air or fresh water. In this time of crisis it is clear that we are only as safe and healthy as our neighbors, coworkers, teachers, bus drivers, grocery workers, servers, and bartenders. We need federal legislation that will keep our neighbors safe and protect them from surprise medical bills and debt.

Take action – sign the petition! 

Please call your council member and urge them to support the Medicare for All Act of 2019 or Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act!

Call your council member today!
At-Large Councilmember Helena Moreno: (504) 658-1060
At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams: (504) 658-1070
District A Councilmember Joe Giarrusso: (504) 658-1010
District B Councilmember Jay Banks: (504) 658-1020
District C Councilmember Kristin Palmer: (504) 658-1030
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett: (504) 658-1040
District E Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen: (504) 658-1050

Script:
“Hello, my name is [NAME] and I live in District [X] in New Orleans. I’m calling to urge Councilmember [X] to support Resolution No. R-20-125 and endorse federal legislation to create universal healthcare.

Public health is a social good, like clean air or fresh water. COVID-19 has shown us that we are only as safe and healthy as our neighbors and community members. We need legislation that will keep our neighbors safe and protect them from surprise medical bills and debt. We need Healthcare-for-All! Thank you for your time.”

We Need a Fair Fund for Hospitality Workers

We’re part of a coalition fighting for hospitality workers. New Orleans’ Exhibition Hall Authority has nearly $200 million in cash reserves and, with over 90,000 hospitality and tourism workers in New Orleans currently out of work, we are demanding $100 million go to direct relief for workers. The GNO Fair Hospitality Fund is escalating now and we need everyone’s help! 

  • Sign the petition. Demand the Exhibition Hall Authority give direct relief to workers! You can sign here
  • Share the petition. Is someone in your family, a friend, or a neighbor an out of work hospitality worker? Ask them to sign and share the petition!
  • Film a #FairFundNow selfie. Check out some of the videos we’ve already uploaded to our facebook, and share widely. Instructions for how to do your own are here. If you’re not an out of work hospitality worker, pass this along your networks.
  • Join our online rally! On 4/20 from 5 pm – 7 pm. You can find the Facebook event here with links to zoom registration. 

COVID-19 Resources for Workers

We are in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis. It is no secret that workers, especially in the service industry, will be disproportionately impacted, and that collective action is the greatest tool we have at our disposal to get through this. To that end, we’ve compiled a variety of resources to help workers in New Orleans and Louisiana at large, which can be viewed here.

Additionally, we’re working on setting up unemployment workshops, fighting for a fair fund for hospitality workers, and contributing to mutual aid projects throughout the city.